The Secret Marketer on managing changes to your brand

Two Christmas parties down, another four to go. And that’s just the work ones. My party stamina level is good so far but it is fair to say that my recovery times are getting longer.

I may have earned very little as an assistant brand manager but what I did earn I could spend by playing hard without any real side effects. Now I have less budgetary concerns, but very little energy left to spend my hard-earned cash.

Aside from all these festive shenanigans, I also have to fit in three short-haul business trips before the year is done. I fully expect to run on adrenaline, only to collapse in a heap with the flu the minute I finally stop.

Still, the business travel schedule provides a good opportunity to clock up a few more BA – or should I say Avios – points.

BA has worked hard to tell me that it will be business as usual under the new Iberian sunshine regime. After so much crisis management, the brand has learned that it is best to keep your customers informed of any change before it arrives.

I’m not good with name changes, as it happens. I still miss my Opal Fruits (now Starburst) and have never quite recovered from Marathon changing to Snickers but in the scheme of things I feel less emotionally attached to my Airmiles and will happily go with the Avios programme.

While BA should be commended on its change management approach, its database merger doesn’t seem to have been quite so slick – my first newsletter from the new regime was sent in Spanish. While my BA points appear to have seamlessly converted to Avios “recompensa” and my executive club “numero” and passwords remain blissfully unchanged, I appear to have suddenly been reclassified as a fully fledged Spanish citizen. It could be worse. A change to Greek status could also have led to a reclassification of eligible points.

The linguistic mistake must have been quickly spotted by BA’s bosses, as an English version of the newsletter arrived minutes later.

Both missives were sent from Senor James Hillier, that nice chap from the BA Executive Club who has been writing to me for years.

I feel as though I know him well as he has been writing for so long. I do hope he is real and not one of those fake signatories or else I will feel really cheated.

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